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Full text of "The manufacture and properties of iron and steel"

434                                   THE IRON INDUSTEY.
then they must he laws, made by the regular law-making bodies; made by the people through their chosen representatives. This has been done in New Zealand; it may be well to await the result.
In this great experiment success will not be measured solely by freedom from strikes, for the industrial peace compelled by arbitration is not necessarily the best thing, any more than political and social peace compelled by the superior force of an autocratic monarchy betokens the highest triumph of government. The excitement of a political campaign in America is more desirable and more truly an exponent of a healthy condition than the sullen passivity with which servile subjects might view a change of masters. The current views of many political leaders in interfering with industrial freedom resemble the medieval notion that a decree of the king could fix the price of wheat, prohibit the export of gold, or exalt the value of a debased currency. Success or failure cannot be determined by immediate effect; some people imagine that when the arbitration laws of New Zealand have prevented a strike by the easy method of splitting the difference, a great triumph has been won. They forget that this is a backward step; that it is abandoning the •business method of fixing a price, and substituting the ancient Jew practice of asking twice as much as is expected in order that an intermediate price may be secured. If the public supposes that the truth is a compromise between extreme demands, it is easy to keep business in a ferment by asking for an advance.
It will take a generation for New Zealand to discover the result of her innovations, but even at this early day the situation is not entirely happy. The employers in three provinces have come out strongly against the present system of compulsory arbitration, while the labor union of one of these provinces is up in arms at the unexpected phenomenon of an award against the workmen, and- the Labor Council is asking "why should we obey an adverse award, when no jail is large enough to hold us all?" Not until the regulations made in this distant island have had time to produce their proper fruit, not until New Zealand becomes thickly settled and possessed of the complex industrial life existing in those countries which are factors in the business of the world, not until the new schemes of labor regulation have proven their efficacy under international competition, can the laws of this much-discussed country